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Darkly Dreaming Demographic.

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Caine in kung fu

3 Ring Samurai Chapter 2 ‘Masked Avengers’ *Content too hot for inkitt haha*

Ok so this is a first.

I’m kinda surprised actually that it took this long but as of today this is the first story that has been rejected, I repeat ‘REJECTED’ from inkitt haha. 
Maybe it’s something to do with the a clown samurai killing a hillybilly tranny in the first chapter haha.

But yeah, this is now an exclusive to my site story, novelette series because it’s too hot for inkitt, because fuck if I’m changing it. I’m not altering it one iota for some pc culture bullshit coming from germany of all places (imagun mi sherk!). They can fuck right off, I’ll just fight it and see what they have to say and have a damn good laugh doing it haha.

So that’s a thing and if you’re on my mailing list right now there should be a nice little copy or two of two of ‘the’ best e-novellas in the world written by yours truly with all the love attention and wit I could muster stored inside them. If you’re not on my mailing and just joining, you’ll have to wait until next month.

Arms literally feel like noodles, last month of the heavy lifting routine then gonna move onto some lifting cardio type things to mix it up a bit.

Aside from all this bullshit, I did finish the first part of 3 Ring and it’s pretty fun. I don’t know if I’ll move onto the next, I might just keep it episodic and keep coming back to it. As soon as I finished the first part I started jotting down ideas for the Cur the fantasy novel I’ve been brewing.

It’s helping a lot reading on into the second witcher book, although I read it and there is a lot of world building that people think is essential to a fantasy book which I find sort of superfluous. I mean it sounds great and all but all you’re doing is talking about a story within a story while I’m I don’t know how man chapters into the Blood of elves and Geralt hasn’t even shown up yet haha. 
So you’re like stuck with probably the least likeable characters in the series; Dandilion and Yennifer talking about Geralt and Ciri.
I also found the intro super generic, I don’t know how many fantasy stories that started with a battle or some kind of horrific event described from the perspective of a little girl or something. I dunno, it just seemed kind of cringe worthy and I’d rather it from Geralt’s perspective and had more action. It was just like action without any actual action. Like ‘Look at all that action going on over there isn’t great?’.

I finished editing the chunk of Diana after Dark I got back from Chrissy, awaiting the next chunk. Paying for it in segments because I am broke haha. I’m just chomping at the bit to start throwing this at agents but I have to be patient, I can’t start emailing people until the package is ready to ship. I need to take my time with this one, I won’t get another after this.

That’s all for now, if this was available on inkitt I would have posted a link but sadly it is not haha.
But still head on over to inkitt or wherever you spot me on social media and send me happy joyjoy feeling.

Also fuck inkitt haha.

See you…

_

A flock of bird-like creatures flapped their misshapen black wings blocking out the sun as they passed. Making an ear aching warbling sqwarking noise. Their shadows passed over the mound of garbage left by the circus caravan. As their shadows passed and their dirty black feathers fell; seven humanoid shapes started to appear. The curtain of shadow slowly rising to reveal a group of odd hooded figures picking over the mound like carrion. Their movements light and ethereal like the spirits of the dead looking for unfinished business.

 

“He’s not here” One of the figures said.

 

The figure at the front turned his head, the orange bill of a strange vaudevillian duck mask he wore protruding out. The emerald green paint was dull and faded and chipped. With what looked like deep gouges and cuts. “I can see that.”

 

~

 

The crowds cheering became a dull metronome in his head slowing in time with his heartbeat. He felt the warm spray of the blood on his face, the woodchips shifting under his feet. The steel biting into bone and sinew, the smell of cheap popcorn, candy floss and vomit.

 

The sword in his hand laughing, laughing, endlessly laughing, never satisfied. Grey flesh shifting in front of him, an endless see of grey leathery flesh. The crowd are replaced with a stampede of raging elephants coming at him from all around. His enemies replaced with grey flesh and tusks and trunks getting closer and he can’t escape.

 

Pookie woke in a cold sweat, he wheezed as the pain in his side came back and his hood came off. He must have made a sound because some old geezers on a table in the back were laughing at him. He quickly pulled the hood back up over his head. He must have dozed off for a moment with his head down on a table in the only watering hole in the town he just left behind. He picked up a long coat with a hood and a scarf to cover his face from a washing line on his way in and was trying to keep a low profile until he could move on.

 

Three old geezers were yammering incessantly to each other as they played some card game.

 

“Who’s turn is it again?” The old coot in the straw hat said.

 

“It’s your turn you old coot!” The old coot with the corn cob pipe said.

 

“Yeah it’s your turn and we’ve been waiting!” The old coot with the slack jaw said.

 

“Goddamn ungrateful sumbitches. You wouldn’t even have this place lest I built it with my own two hands” Strawhat said banging his old fist against the table.

 

“You built it?” Corncob said pointing his pipe.

 

“Is that right? Slackjaw said drooling a little and staring at the ceiling fan.

 

“Yeah I built this whole town after the real badness with my two good buddies” Strawhat said scratching his grizzled chin.

 

“We’re the two good buddies you’re talking about” Corncob said gesturing at himself with the pipe.

 

“Yup” Slackjaw said.

 

“I planted all the crops and put up all the fences with the sweat of my back.” Strawhat whined

 

“I planted those crops right along with ya” Corncob scowled.

 

“Me too” Slackjaw said.

 

“You was always planting crops of a different kind though” Strawhat said giving him a sideways glance through tight wrinkly slits. “To think I was a big guy on wallstreet before the crash”

 

“I thought it was a zombie apocalypse” Corncob mused

 

“Wasn’t it a solar flare?” Slackjawed dozed.

 

“Zambies? You see any zambies around? Strawhat said.

 

“I seen plenty of’em, I’m looking at one right now!” Corncob chuckled.

 

“I killed a zombie once” Slack jaw said. “Hit it with a shovel”.

 

“Nevermind about that, those damn circus folk come here every goddamn year and rob us of our hard earned food. Leave us barely enough to get through the season – and they steal our kids for their goddamn shows. It’s like those damn white haired guys from that videogame, what was it called, the snitcher 11?.

 

“You don’t have any kids and you don’t have any vidya games neither” Corncob said as he chewed his pipe and looked over his cards.

 

“Grand kids” Slack jaw said.

 

“Your grand kids all left for the circus!” Strawhat said.

 

“Little bastards!” Corncobs said staring at his cards like he wanted to fight them.

 

“Ungrateful little shits!” Slawjaw yawned.

 

“And for what?” Strawhat said thoughtfully looking at his hand.

 

“I don’t even like the circus” Corncob said.

 

“It clears out the jails I guess” Slackjaw said wiping his mouth on his sleeve.

 

“I bet half of’em are innocent” Strawhat interjected pursing his lips.”No trials or nothing.”

 

“I wish someone would come along and wipe’em all out” Corncob said biting down on his pipe.

 

“Yeah so someone worse can take their place I’ll bet.” Slack jaw said.

 

“Yep sounds about right.” Strawhat said.

 

“Uh huh” Corncob said.

 

“Yup.” Slackjaw agreed.

 

“Oh yeah” Strawhat said as he studied his hand. “I fold.”

 

“Oh goddamit” Corncob spat.

 

“Everytime” Slackjaw sighed.

 

“Shut it you old coots!” A large man with a head like bowling ball with a thin strip of hair on it shouted over a pool table.

 

He and a group of solid citizens wearing loose dirty coveralls were loitering around the pool table cursing and talking about women.

 

It was a small border town that Pookie hadn’t actually set foot in before. The circus set up further out and then carnys would put up posters telling people where and when they’d be there. No one had actually seen his face but it just made sense not to make a big song and dance about the tattoos.

 

The bar was laid out adjacent to the saloon style doors. Pookie had picked a spot right at the back, parallel to the bar so he could watch the door without being spotted right away.

 

The poker game quieted down as a tall slim young man walked cockily through the swing doors smiling like he owned the place and everyone in it. The old hag behind the bar smiled at him and greeted him like she was his nurse maid.

 

“Morning Pete” She said with a lilting fondness in her voice.

 

“That’s deputy Pete” He laughed feigning an air of formality, and then dropping his elbows on the bar like a kid about to ask for a strawberry milkshake. “Morning Ethel, hows it hanging?” He smirked tipping up his ten gallon hat that looked just a little too big for his head and a little too small for his cocky smirk.

 

“Lower everyday” She cackled.

 

He laughed as a formality but Pookie felt a crude and quick searching glance. Then he saw the light hit the sheriff star and he tensed up and lowered his head. “What’s the agenda for the day?”

 

“Same old, same old, pick up after these old bastards, maybe mop up some vomit and break up a fight, whoop de fucking doo.” She said with her hands on her wide hips.

 

“Absolutely thrilling, as always Ethel-“ He stood erect and adjusted his gunbelt. Took another shrewd but casual glance towards the back of the saloon sighed and wet his lips. “Welp, you keep me posted now.” He smiled wide and said “Just holler and I’ll come a running.”

 

“I’m sure you will” She said with an added withering glance.

 

He laughed and tipped his hat again before walking out the way he came.

 

Pookie knew he couldn’t stay here all day, but he didn’t know what else to do. He had to find a place to rest before he could move on and even then he had no idea where he was going or even had a reason to go. What choice did he have but the life of a wanderer?

 

Waiting around here made him a little too conspicuous. Even with the coat and scarf he stuck out like a sore thumb in a town that probably didn’t get a lot of visitors.

 

He shuffled along the booth he was sitting in, doing his best to hide the sword on his hip under the long coat and he walked out of the saloon. It was midday by the time he got to the town, so it was getting cooler in the afternoon. The sun slipping behind the rows of houses and stores along the mainstreet. The town was basically one street lined with business and the more houses on the outer sides making up the backstreets. All the houses looked like they were cobbled together from old furniture and packing crates.

 

Making his way through the alleys and side streets to avoid undo attention was his best bet. But apparently he’d already failed at it if heavy footfalls padding in the dirt was any indication.

 

He turned keeping his head dipped and saw the solid citizens from the pool game, bowling ball head standing in front still with the pool cue in his hand.

 

The sun seemed to shift and duck behind the houses again and cast the alley into a cool semi-shadow and for a moment they said nothing.

 

“Yyyou think I wouldn’t recognise you?” Bowling ball head stammered, his tongue loose and full of spittle. “Tttthhis is a small town, strangers like you stick out like a boil on a hhhhogs ass!”

 

Pookie looked him up and down and said nothing.

 

“Yyyou think you’re too good to talk to me?” He said as he squeezed the pool cue in his hands. “Yyyyou don’t look so tough without your fffreakshow pals” He looked around at the swelling faces of his hapless cohorts. “Ttten tickets say I can take him on my own”

 

“Yeah go for it Bully!”

 

“I’ll take that!

 

“Break his ass Bull!”

 

Bull smirked with a wide open half toothy grin. “I’m gggonna kick your ass!”

 

Pookie tossed the hem of his coat back revealing the hilt of the sword with the silly face.

 

“Yyyyou’re not allowed that, nnnno weapons in the city limits, ttthose the rules.” He said as he turned to look at his buddies.

 

“Heh, he doesn’t know anything”

 

“What an r-tard”

 

“Yeah, r-tard.

 

“Ggguess I’ve got to ttteach you a lesson.” he said like a basic bitch anime villain. Without turning, looking with the corner of his eye he swung the pool cue in an upward arch trying to catch Pookie under the chin. All he saw was a ridiculous clown face pommel coming at him like a freight train right between the eyes.

 

Pookie pulled at a decorative yellow ring attached to a string like the rip cord on a parachute, pulling it as if he was starting a lawn mower. It made a strange noise like a kazoo or some kind of wind up toy as it propelled the sword out of the sheathe. Rocketing the clown face pommel into the middle of Bull’s bowling ball head. Unleashing the cringe inducing mechanical laughing sound and sending Bully reeling backwards followed by an arc of thick red blood and snot.

 

He bent over and groaned with his hand over his face and said “Yyyyou broke my nose, you mmmmother fucker!”

 

The sword hadn’t fully left the sheathe and Pookie let gravity pull it back in with a click. The string he pulled retracted quickly back into the scabbard with a tinny mechanical noise.

 

Bully looked at the blood in his hand as he took it away from his face and he got redder in the cheeks and seemed to stand a foot taller. “Iiiit’s on now” He said as he took the pool cue and snapped it easily into two sharp stakes.

 

Pookie made his eyes into hard uncaring slits, threw his hood back and moved his sword around to the front of his draw string belt.

 

A loud thunderclapping sound stopped them all in their tracks. Bull with the sharp stakes in his hand and Pookie with his thumb in the ring of the pull string on his scabbard.

 

“Well that didn’t take long did it” The voice from behind the crowd of yokels said. “First day in my town and you’re already causing trouble, and you wonder why folks don’t like outsiders.” The deputy pushed through the crowd as he holstered his gun and walked up to Pookie and had a good look at him. ”Especially outsiders who look like you” he said jutting his jaw out and tutting.

 

The deputy turned around and looked at the crowd both his thumbs under his gun belt “You’ll relinquish your weapon and accompany me to the local jail.” He turned to Pookie and pursed his lips, “Well?” He put his hand out.

 

Pookie looked at him, narrowing his eyes and he took hold of his sword by the scabbard gripping it firmly.

 

After a moment of silence, only the wind and their breath making a sound. Pookie lifted the sword out of the cradle of his belt and put in the Deputies hand.

 

The Deputy looked it up and down and it was a strange thing to behold, multi-coloured like a lollipop with seemingly useless tassles and ball-balls hanging off the scabbard and the unusual pommel.

 

“Well you don’t see that everyday.” He looked up from the odd blade and then gestured with the hilt “Welp, I aint got all eternity, follow me.”

 

The two men passed the crowd who sniggered.

 

“What are you giggling like school girls for, you’re all coming too, more the merrier at this barbecue.”

 

“Aww come on Pete” The crowd collectively groaned.

 

“Wwwhat for? He the one done broke my nose!” Bull spat.

 

“Public assholery, not being welcoming to our new guest” Deputy Pete quipped. He gestured with the sword. “Move on now”

 

They all groaned and dipped their heads like school kids as they followed him towards the jail.

 

~

 

“Sch-a-gdm-pssy” The trapper in the dungarees blubbered “Guy-kilt-yer-kin-cnt-ebn-shoot!” He was frantically rummaging around in drawers trying to pack a threadbare suitcase, tears and snot streaming down his face.

 

“Is this a bad time?” A voice said behind him.

 

He craned his neck around to see a man dressed in a long dark raincoat with a hood wearing a dark green duck mask standing in his open doorway. He froze like a deer in headlights and then started towards his filthy stained bed which was just a dead mattress on the floor, where his crossbow lay.

 

The man with the duck mask watched him slowly edge towards the makeshift weapon in the dingey trappers house. Which consisted of a large dirty single room operating as bedroom, kitchen and living room all in one.

 

He made it to the bed and picked up the cross bow and pointed it at the man in the duck mask.

 

“Git-ya-gdam-knky-werdo!”

 

There was a thudding skiting noise on the roof. He turned to see something that looked like a big crow in the corner of his eye flutter past the mesh windows of the house.

 

“What are you gonna do with that?” The man in the duck mask said.

 

“Git-of-mi-prprty!”

 

There was a sudden heaving creaking behind him, near the backdoor. The man in the dungarees turned to see a giant figure looming over him dressed exactly like the first but with a horrifying cracked and stained penguin mask. Black and white with some yellow around the rim and the same empty haunting hollow eyes staring at him. The man shrieked and instinctively fired the only bolt striking the monstrous figure in the shoulder.

 

But the hulking man made no sound of pain, barely reacting at all. Only lifting a gargantuan hand to snap the bolt off and the other slamming down with some sort of cudgel made of burled wood and covered in barbed wire. The blow splintered the already weakened floorboards sending the man in the dungarees down under his house.

 

Operating on survival instinct alone the man in the dungarees skittered under the house like a dung beetle looking for shade. Fighting for every terrified breath. He waited for a moment in the crawl space, holding it in, listening to the creaking of the floorboards.

 

After a moment he heard a strange whooping noise getting closer and then as it reached it’s peak he felt a stinging waft of air and then his face felt wet. But before he could inspect what it was he was shaken awake by a loud buzzing noise and a wrending of the floor boards as a slim chainsaw-like knife poked close to his face.

 

He flattened and wriggled away from it as fast as he could but the buzzing knife kept cutting until it had opened up a wide hole. A man with a turkey mask stuck his head through and looked at the man in the dungarees.The mask was a rich blue colour with a red neck.

 

“He’s here!” The man in the turkey mask said.

 

The man in the dungarees was breathing hard and sweating as he dragged himself to the edge of his house and out of the crawlspace.

 

The sun was setting and cruel twilight had descended, the sun still blinding but in a numbing darkness that surrounded the hapless figure. He touched his face and looked at his hand and there was a little blood there. He touched a small cut running down the side of his face confused, looking around.

 

There was a loud crashing sound as a man wearing a bright yellow and black finch mask landed on a junked car. He cocked his head to the side to look at the man as he turned and ran deeper into the junkyard.

 

He saw the jet black crow again in the corner of his eye hopping and bobbing on rusted out tractors and buses as he followed closely. The man in the dungarees ran frantically trying to get lost in the rusted maze he’d constructed for himself.

He quickly turned a corner around a stack of crushed cars and he saw the reflection of a slim feminine figure standing on top of them in a car window. Looking down at him with some large covered object strapped to her back, the long beak of a black and grey heron mask following him as he ran in the opposite direction.

 

The man in the duck mask yawned “Annnd I’m bored of this now.” He turned to a broad cloaked figure wearing a cardinal bird mask, a black faced bird with deep red spiked feathers at the top and around the edges. “Cardinal, if you’d be so kind.”

 

“My pleasure, Canard”.

 

Cardinal dropped off his perch on top of a rusted out trailer and landed right in front of the man in the dungarees who fell back onto his ass.

 

Cardinal laughed and let a small sickle on a chain fall out of his sleeve and land in the dust at his feet.

 

The man in the dungarees instantly started to scuttle in the opposite direction.

 

Cardinal stayed where he was and started to spin the chain over his head, letting more and more slack into it, getting faster.

 

The man in the dungarees was in a full sprint, going as fast as his little legs could carry him now straight in the opposite direction. Noticing more masks following him in the corner of his eyes as he went. He was seeing them everywhere and then suddenly something small with weight landed in front of him and he stopped in his tracks trying to see what it was.

 

Something snaked and writhed in the sand next to him. The chain growing taught and the sickle coming up and back fast cutting off his left leg and leaving him flailing on the floor in the blink of an eye.

 

He lay on his back still trying to crawl away despite bleeding profusely from his leg. He heard a fluttering light thudding noise behind him and he looked up and saw an upside down duck mask looking down at him holding a piece of shiny paper.

 

“Have you seen this clown?”

Welcome to Bat Country, breakdown of the first issue.

I wanted to do a breakdown of the first issue of Bat Country, try to make some sense out of the whole mess that is Bat Country, try to lay that whole twisted bag of snakes out, and if you’ve read any of it, you know this is going to be a long one.

If people would ask me what I wanted to achieve with this book, I don’t really know if I could sum it up in a few words. But I guess the closest thing I could say would just be a fear of open spaces. I wanted to cultivate and exacerbate my fear of the outside world. That’s basically what the title means; the world is full of carnivorous flying rodents that want to suck your blood.

Basically I’m just trying to make excuses for why this comic makes no sense ha-ha. It’s told from the perspective of someone who can’t see in straight lines, everything enters his brain differently and since he’s the narrator of his own story, the narrative is unreliable.

So the first page I get my sneaky twin peaks reference in to Big Ed’s Gas farm (I’ll look a right twat if that’s wrong now ha-ha) and get into my thing about sugar, I’m sure if I was some hypersensitive writer for the guardian I’d call it ‘sugarshaming’ ha-ha. But since I’m not I tend to think people associate lots of sugar with childishness, as if growing older means you no longer see a reason to enjoy ‘the sweet life. I wanted to introduce Ransom as a character that relished in his childishness and was almost petulant in his reaction to people trying to shame him into conforming to their own way of thinking.

TLDR: Motherfucker like his coffee sweet.

I think maybe a year or two ago, I began this strange fascination with cooking shows or just food shows in general. I watched come dine with me just to watch absolute cunts sit and try to withstand each other for a few evenings in a row, talking shit about each other in the backroom. There was something delicious about uncomfortable silences shared by complete strangers who had never the less grown to hate each other over the course of one evening ha-ha. English people like myself have such an acquired taste for awkwardness.

Then I started to watch Man VS Food, for those that haven’t watched it, it’s basically a show about a chubby American fellow going from town to town taking up eating challenges. Eating a giant burger or a colossal omelette or something, or a really hot curry. I really enjoyed it for the food (I love food) and the competitive nature, it was just a fun show.

But this was when I was little more social justicey, so I started to spin my Marxist (did away with those thankfully away, just a nice empty space now ha-ha) and it made me think this show was everything wrong with America. It was decadent, ‘people are starving’ I said to myself as I watched this pudgy American stuff his face with a hotdog the size of a skateboard.

I was both in awe and disgust with America and the American way, a fine line between love and hate indeed.

One of my many fantasies is that of walking the earth like Cain in Kung fu, I’ve often thought about just walking, getting into some adventures and just travelling. Then to hit the ground realising I have no money and my shoes are made from inedible canvas. The realities of it were just too glaring, how would I eat, how would I make enough money to travel and survive? But then I realised that in America those two things could coincide. In the wondrous USA you can be paid for eating, so something that could have been just a throwaway piece of plot filler became almost the crux of the story.

On a whole the basic joke of the story is that it’s almost as if to America thinks it can reach enlightenment through eating. Purely by how much they eat and how much of science they honed of gluttony.

This was going to by my satirical comic poking fun at the American dream, the hypocrisy of modern culture and capitalism and religion and all that good stuff. But after a while those things started to bore me and realised that trying to force people to think like me through a comic made me as bad as the assholes I was critiquing, so I cut that shit out. Now I just want to make people laugh and make them think and deliver something so fucking out there, they’ll never forget.

Diagnosis love is another reference to Twin peaks, well the first season, which is my favourite. It had this soap opera running in the background of the occasional episode, the story of which was cheesy but was a mirror of what was happening in the show. I really liked the feel of it and how it added another layer to story, making it seem self aware. I initially was introduced by this; I don’t know what you call it really in Max Payne 2. The idea that you can’t tell if you’re mimicking the art or it’s mimicking you. Obviously Max Payne must have copied it from Twin Peaks.

I suppose in a way a part of me wanted to mock most other webcomics where this type of storytelling isn’t intentionally cheesy and ridiculous ha-ha. It’s there to contrast the goings on in the ‘real world’ but mirror them just enough to seem relate-able.

It’s choked full of odd references, Night of the Hunter, Wild at heart, dune, Beetlejuice, I want to get across to the reader that outside to Ransom is literally an alien planet, these diners in the middle of nowhere are like ‘safe spaces’ from all that nature trying to get him.

Liberty or the cowboy is another matter all together; I guess he’s a reference to the Big Lebowski in a way.

The first issue that makes me cringe is the dialogue; yeah my own dialogue makes me cringe. I wanted to copy the style of Max Payne, Address Unknown and Twin Peaks, so essentially I wanted the dialogue to be as cheesy and as hackneyed as possible. I want it to feel fake and strange and just wrong, like a 90’s TV show. And gradually if people keep reading that’ll fade away and it’ll grow with the reader. It’s very much, I hate to say like Natural Born Killers (I hated that movie), the style, the critic of American culture. That niggling feeling that all that freedom and all that space gives you. I can’t help feeling that that feeling is intoxicating and addictive and the reason for all the evil in the world and all the good.
People can be so free they feel trapped, they have all this power to do whatever they want but they stay where they are, pacing back and forth in a cage of their own making. Or they toss it all away like Ransom and burn out rather than fade away. That’s conflict we have here, that’s what I think American culture is, ultimate freedom driving people mad, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, quite the opposite in fact.

Now the second part of the story, some paranoid people are actually being followed. Now I can’t hope to hide this, this entire scene was inspired by my favourite scene in Mulholland Drive, the hitman scene. I thought that scene was so funny, I couldn’t resist. I really love that film and I feel robbed that it wasn’t turned into a full TV show as it was intended, I would have really loved to have seen more from that bungling hitman. I can’t help feeling if Netflix existed in the 90’s Lynch would have been even more popular than he is and not this cult god we admonish him as now.

This scene where the henchmen are going through his apartment is a back story hint, the story of Bat Country just like Twin Peaks starts in the middle. The reader will have to work back as the story moves forward to understand why Ransom is on his journey and who he’s running from.

I got a lot of influence from Silent Hill 4 the room. That game really stuck with me for the voyeuristic nature, and its dreamlike interpretation of agoraphobia. Despite it bombing I found it really intriguing. Another influence is Oldboy, but that might be too spoilery ha-ha.

I was listening to the new Nick Cave album when I wrote this scene and for some reason I decided to put lyrics from Higgs Bosom Blues directly into the scene, don’t ask me why.

Ransom is on a journey, he’s trying to find the American dream and these two bumbling killers are following him.

He wakes from his dream for a minute then he’s back in it again harder than ever. The idea for this comic sort of came from the idea of the idea of the hero. What is a hero? To me a hero is a normal person who has no regard for themselves whatsoever, they’re not afraid of pain, they’re not afraid of humiliation or getting things horribly wrong. And that’s what Ransom tries to be.
I wanted the combat to be real and disgusting and brutal and just… messy and Florian really delivered with this scene. He really captured the brutality and the inelegance of an actual fight, no kung fu bullshit, no gimmicks, just blood and cuts and tooth and nails.

…and then it ends as abruptly as it started. I wanted the first issue to be a snapshot, a glimpse into this dream world, something that would make someone want to dig deeper and discover the underlying meaning. But shit, I’ve rambled enough.

Just go read it already ha-ha.
http://tapastic.com/series/Bat-Country

Breakdown of the first issue of Three Ring and some Reviews.

I wanted to blog about the first issue of Three Ring Samurai and Bat Country in more detail but I think I’ll tackle them separately and talk more broadly on how I feel about first issues because I find I feel quite strongly about them.

To me the first issue of a comic is like an introduction to an essay or a film or anything of that nature, it sets up the plot but it also has to stand almost on its own. I read so many indie comics who see the first issue as almost a hurdle to be jumped as swiftly and as neatly as possible to get to the ‘good bits’ but if you have ‘good bits’ why aren’t they in the first issue people will see?
You have to give people a reason to want to get to the ‘good bits’, I’m not going to read your entire graphic novel and then decide whether or not it was worth my time at the end. I’m going to see what the first issue is telling me and decide from that moment whether to keep reading or not.

So in my mind the first issue should almost encapsulate everything you want to say or achieve throughout the entire comic. It’s not the start of a story, it IS the whole story. I read quite a few comics that start at the beginning despite nothing really happening, and slowly building to that point.

A comic is not like a novel, you have to grab people’s attention as soon as possible or you’ll never have it. I’d structure it so it started at or after the inciting incident and work backwards, it’s a common device but that’s because it works and if you think you can’t make a common device work for you or you can’t make something like that fresh and exciting or scoff at cliché’s you really shouldn’t be a writer. Because that’s all we do, nothing is original, nothing is new, everything is a cliché, we’ve been on this planet for thousands of years as a species, we have to keep recycling and keep mixing things up to keep… LIFE interesting. It’s not what you write about, its how you write about it that makes what you do interesting.
Now my post apocalyptic diesel punk samurai clown epic, Three Ring Samurai, if I may be so modest has an oddly modest first issue in comparison from where the story goes. I see the premise, and the elevator pitch alone is incredibly flamboyant and done by anyone else it would too silly, too wacky and just wouldn’t work. I wanted to go for a more anime like feel, where there can be silliness and there can be wackiness but you always understand that there are real world consequences and life and death and it’ll be at its core a serious story because in my opinion those are the stories I like and want to tell.

I think seriousness and sadness and humour work off each other well and in some instances deepen eachother. It’s like twin peaks, again; you have all this wackiness going on in the episode but by the end you have to remember that Laura is dead and that’s what the show is about, it’s a comedy surrounding a tragedy and only the end can truly define where the pointer lands.

So with the first issue I really wanted to undersell it and be as subtle as I possibly could so that I could contain the bombastic title and concept and really blue ball the reader, as well as giving them a little something that would make them want to read the next issue (which is still being drawn) and give them a feel for the tone of entire series.

I really had to restrain myself because the concept is so rich and so fucking explosive, it’s almost too tempting to take it and run and just burn yourself out. But I wanted a really plodding and structured approach. And I know I said I hated comics that took a long time to get going but I think this comic had enough momentum behind it in terms of interest with the unique subject matter to cut me a little slack if just for the first issue. To be a little mysterious, a little enigmatic even in a comic that is so tongue in cheek at its core as this.

So the first page, I read that and I hear Ron Perlman’s voice saying ‘War, war never changes’, and I just can’t resist, the zoom out on the post apocalyptic setting, I really wanted to give a feel of scope and loss with the idea that people were still clinging on to something which is Fallout at its heart.

We’re introduced to these two kids, like the wastelands answer to tin tin, two innocents bounding onto some dark strange discovery and this is how we’re introduced to our hero. I tried to use this to set the tone in terms of the fact the kids didn’t find it strange to find a dead body, the light normality of death being so prevalent in a harsh wasteland.

Pookie is almost like an alien or a baby or a fish wacked on the head and brought back to life. With the scenes of the shack, I almost wanted a sleepy feel, a sort of cool peace that fell on the wasteland at dusk in contrast to the chaos of the day.

I had a lot of fun with the kids, sneaking in exposition and building up to the character of Pookie by essentially mocking him in this cartoony anime sort of way. I want him to be this figure of fun, a silly character that can fall on his ass and make a fool of himself because he’s not afraid of being a fool because he knows when it comes down to it, he’ll have the last laugh.

The grandpa character is a sort of wily comic relief, someone to bounce weird jokes off the kids (fuck just noticed a spelling mistake haha). Someone who plays dumb to lull people into a false sense of security but secretly knows more than he lets on. And then we can have this hushed voices real talk between him and Pookie, nods and gestures of two people in tune in some way.

The dream sequences are something I plucked directly from the opening sequence of David Lynch’s Elephantman. I wanted something surreal but also very silly, and I really can’t get away with genuine serious surrealism. I’ve always been more drawn to comedy surrealism like Luis Bunuel and to some extent David Lynch, I find he takes his surrealism (besides possibly Eraserhead, that movie freaks a lot of people out but I found it quite silly and funny in a way) very lightly and with many pinches of salt.

I think if I remember correctly, the reason I made it elephants is mainly because I loved the way Ike (The artist) drew the elephant on the opening page and then I took the opening sequence from David Lynch’s Elephantman, which is a pretty fucking weird intro and ran with it. I’m pretty sure it’s an elephant rape scene, or that’s at least what he’s hinting at, I wouldn’t put that past him to be fair, he’s done weirder shit than that.

I shamelessly stole the Musashi joke from Champloo. I have no shame, it’s just too funny and I read the book of the five rings before I started writing this, so why the fuck not?

We’re introduced to Pookie in earnest, I always like characters with silly names, it almost makes it twice as amazing when they do something incredible, I almost wish I came up with it but I think that was all Ike as is the original concept.

Only 11 pages in do we get to the meat of the story. Pookie has been robbed and the natural imperative of gramps is just to let it go, some stuff isn’t worth your life and Pookie is injured, but Pookie is not like them. Someone takes something from him, he gets it back. He is almost an alien, dropped into a dog eat dog world with an inordinately large set of teeth. This is where I like to think I injected some of the Cain in Kung Fu elements I wanted to bring forward. A lone wanderer, from a strange culture, a warrior with incredible skill plucked out of a fantasy; an almost mockery to human potential, an anime character walking Deus Ex Machina.

The main purpose of this issue is that Pookie was essentially destroyed, his life, his past. He was killed, reborn and everything he knew stripped away from him. So now he has to find himself, he has to decide who he is in this new world, without the world he’d come to know. The first thing he’s drawn to is his sword and violence because that’s all he’d known all his life.

In a lot of ways this is a coming of age story, someone thrown out of their old life like Kung Fu and thrust into a strange new world, forced to make sense of who he has to become to survive.

This whole issue is essentially about Pookie’s rebirth (fuck that’s pretentious), he’s trying to establish who he really is, because for so long he was one thing (no spoilers); it was his whole world, his identity and in one moment it’s taken from him and now he has to re-establish his identity and who he is as a character. As a writer it was and is a tricky character to write for because he’s almost forming himself with every page, piecing himself together like Doctor Manhattan.

I’m oddly proud of the sword, a sword with a handle like one of those cheesy laughing boxes Jack Nicholson joker has at the end of Batman. He always gets the last laugh even if he dies. I sort of wanted to mock the idea of swords in general.

A katana is as clichéd as you can get these days, so saturated in popular culture. I wanted to make his sword out to be some ridiculous piece of joke shop crap, a silly show piece, a gimmick for laughs, a sword that laughs for a man that doesn’t need to.

It’s also sort of homage to my early knife collection. I bought this crappy machete from Doncaster market when I was like 13 I think. It had a dragon or lions head handle with glowing led’s for eyes that lit up when you pressed a button, jesus what the fuck was I thinking?

The combat I wanted to keep as theatrical as possible, death is a show, it had to be fairly flash but also brutally inefficient. He’s a monster, a vicious killer, who expects applause for his butchery, someone shaped by the brutality of the vicious curiosity of a bloodthirsty crowd egging him on to further heights of gut-wrenching violence. To him violence and killing is a parlour trick, it’s almost a joke, like hitting someone in the face with a custard pie.

That’s how I wanted to capture this element of silliness in this very grotesque and ultra-violent package. I really wanted to hone that feeling of 80’s action movie ultra-violence, like Robocop. Someone is torn apart in this ridiculously over the top death sequence but it’s wrapped up in this really silly camp vibe that makes it all the more sinister and weird.

Ok maybe the ending with the cheesy ‘see ya around kid’ was a little too much but I couldn’t resist. I wanted to end it in a way that made it uncertain where he was going, he was just going somewhere, anywhere to forge a new Pookie, one that followed his own rules and didn’t need no stinkin’ circus.

Well how did I do? haha. Fuck I waffled on like a man possessed, if you read this far through I commend you.

All in all not a lot happens but I think it’s a tight and tidy package, I’ve got a handful of positive reviews for it under my belt already and I feel confident it was a solid first issue. but it gives enough, succinctly I think, to grab the attention for another issue or two.

Reviewses!

http://comicsgrinder.com/2015/08/26/webcomic-review-three-ring-samurai/

http://www.comiccrusaders.com/webcomic-wednesday-review-three-ring-samurai/

Well I hope you like it anyway, I’ve rambled enough for a lifetime, as always you can check it out for free at; http://tapastic.com/series/Three-Ring-Samurai

Thanks for reading, peace out.

Walk the Earth like Pookie in Three Ring Samurai.

Forgive me in advance for the rambling nature of this blog, I really don’t have a plan, I just have two words ‘Kung fu’.

For those not familiar with it, Kung Fu is a tv show with David Carradine playing a half Chinese half American boy raised in a shaolin temple after both his parents are killed by a tyrannical Emperor.
The story is based around his travels to seek out his family in America after his master is killed he must flee china wanted for killing the emperors son in an act of hot on the spot vengeance for the unwarranted killing.

He travels America looking for his family, evading the snare of the emperor and getting into scrapes and adventures, meeting interesting people along the way. With each new adventure a piece of his teachings is called upon to assist him and make sense of a world he’s only just coming face to face with.
Secluded all his life Caine is as a child with the fighting skills of a shaolin priest, through a series of flashback his past is brought to light to help him overcome and decide on certain courses of action to aid him in his adventures.

~

I initially watched the show out of the blue, maybe as some form of research for 3 Ring, I know I definitely shamelessly ripped a lot off for the issue plan, I borrowed a lot of ideas and I in an upcoming arc and I decided to completely parody the montage of Caine’s training in the shaolin temple and make it Pookie’s ridiculous clown training, I just couldn’t resist.

I really, really loved the style; the way the story was structured in the first season was perfect, calling on back-story applying it to current plot. It worked really well because you learned more about him every episode in a way that felt very consistent. And every episode you learnt a valuable and somewhat touching lesson.

It padded the main plot nicely as we learned about Caine throughout his various adventures and then kept us interested in the search for his brother and the threat of the Emperor on his heels and for a guy that had never done kung fu before kung fu David Carradine isn’t half bad as an actor or a fighter coming from someone who knows kung fu. He wasn’t amazing and he did use a stunt double in season one I believe but ditched that for his own stunts in later seasons.

Long story short I loved the show and I wanted the same feel for 3 Ring Samurai, I wanted every arc to be a self contained movie, something that engaged people and had action and drama and suspense and just enough thread of main plot to keep people reading but not enough to overwhelm them.

Sadly the second two seasons of Kung fu really fell short for me and I must admit I almost breathed a sigh of relief, I’m not proud to admit I take pleasure in the downfall of other but I think a lot of people feel shadenfreud a lot more than they’d like to admit. I was relieved to see the show fall because to live up to that, for it to continue at that level of quality would have rendered my endeavours to emulate it seem futile.

I don’t blame the show for this, I blame the times and the idea that writing staff are disposable, they chose to change the writers for season two and with the nature of television in the seventies I feel like they had to make it more consumable for people to watch as re-runs.

Tv wasn’t like how it is now with netflix and the internet, you couldn’t choose to watch a tv show whenever you wanted, and watch them in order, you watched them when they were on, in the order they were on and if you missed an episode you had to watch it in a rerun. You couldn’t just buy the boxset on dvd.
So each episode had to be standalone and almost interchangeable in terms of the timeline of the story so someone could watch any episode in any order and still keep up and enjoy the show.
This change of writers and restructuring of the show is a noticeable decline in cogent plot and although I watched each season through it didn’t measure up in any shape or form to season one.

I don’t know why but my mind keeps drawing back to Twin Peaks and the dire mistake of revealing the mystery around the death of Laura Palmer half way between season two which without a doubt killed the show. Lynch himself said he never wanted to reveal the mystery and I and Edgar Allen Poe would have agreed that the greatest mystery is one that goes unsolved. It was the fault of the producers of the show that forced him to reveal the mystery and then have the show limp on to the end without much a hook to keep the show going.
It’s almost amazing to even think that an entire tv show could be framed around one murder or one person’s life like Kung Fu. But it can because people themselves can be unsolvable mysteries.
And every time the credits rolled over Laura Palmer’s picture I would feel a pang of sorrow for the mystery of her life and even more so for the tawdry reveal of that perfect mystery and then the shop bought replacement mystery awkwardly wedged in its place.

I think if Kung Fu were re-made today it would be an incredibly feat but also a really rewarding one, (Note to self, call Keanu Reeves ;)). This is the golden age of television where the possibilities for stories and budgets and scope and acting talent are virtually limitless and at a time where there is so much pressure on the structure of films and now games it’s really necessary.

So please forgive the faux fanboy ranting, I just wanted to give some perspective to the narrative structure and style of 3 Ring, think Kung Fu meets Fallout 4 haha.

Peace out people.

Indie comics, clown samurais, post apocalyptic swashbuckling in very used cars.

Read issue one for free.

I work on a couple of indie comics; I’d say each is a little piece of me, each with its own life. This is sort of a dark reflection of my love of anime and bastardised Japanese/Asian culture.

3 Ring Samurai is a diesel-punk clown samurai revenge story. It’s basically like Caine in Kung Fu if he was a clown and… err a samurai and not a Buddhist monk… or bald..or a clown??

Pookie is left for dead and discovered on a pile of trash by some scavenger kids who with the help of their creepy grandpa nurse him back to health so he can begin his long road to revenge and trying to find some shoes that fit.

It’s based in a world a kin to fallout, but instead of the brotherhood of steel, an order out of the military applying Knightly codes to a post apocalyptic world to bring order out of chaos, the focus is on a group applying a circus code on the wastelands bringing entertainment and blood to the wastes.

The circus is like a travelling Show-gunate (get it? Right yeah killing myself, I’ll stop, just unsee that) bringing justice, a literal bread and circus circus, where criminals are put to death by the code of the circus entertainers trained to murder in really interesting ways.

But teh’applecart has been upset and Pookie has been cast out, accused of a heinous crime and now he’s to be hunted by his ex-brothers in arms for a crime he may or may not have committed.

Terrible overview over, this comic came about when I was trawling those hapless comic sites on facebook, where people huddle around the digital equivalent of a trashcan fire trying to keep their creativity warm while working for a living as a barista giving out double mocha handjobs or whatever.
So I squeezed my way around the garbage fire and threw out a few of my short stories and some of them hit home and I caught the attention of Mike (Now Ike, there was already a Mike Golden) with a weird clown story of my own about sexy killer clowns and electric kitchen knives and menstrual blood and that’s enough of that.

We bumped into each other again in a grindhouse style facebook group talking about commissioning some little grindhouse stories that never got off the ground (as is the case with most indie shorts) and in a few other debilitatingly depressing comic groups where people try to rub their creative spark between their fat middle age thighs hoping it’ll catch fire and pimply teens with ‘gender issues’ write the most banal tripe that would turn a donkey to Braille.

So of course as in love with me as Mike was (;)) he jumped at the chance to work with me again at which point, I was like, ‘Why don’t we just do our own thing?’ since we were both tired of being let down by the flakes of facebook. We connected over a similar work ethic and a love of all things martial arts. Him being into those fancy named Filipino arts with sticks and sharp sticks flailing about and me with my taekwondo and kung fu and fencing for all those years.
We thought we could put something together that would blend post apocalyptic punk tongue in cheek fun and classic kung fu movies and samurai flicks into one odd package.

So I set forth on a journey of rediscovery, I’d done kung fu for a number of years (4 to be exact) and taekwondo since I was about 12 but oddly I was never that into martial arts movies. The only one at the time I watched more than once was Romeo must die and that’s only because it came with our first dvd player so it was the only one we had.

But maybe a year or two ago, I started getting into obscure 90’s rap for some reason and I find a nice niche in the Wu Tang Clan which lead to a fascination with the RZA, being a fan of some of his scores from movies like ‘Ghost Dog’. I felt obliged to watch his attempt at a classic kung fu movie ‘The man with the iron fists’.

Needless to say it was fucking atrocious, and I never want to see a movie with Russell Crowe in it ever again. But I fell in love with the style and I wanted to explore that more. So I started watching movies like ‘Fist of the white lotus’ and ‘Five Deadly Venoms’ and my personal favourite ’36th Chamber of Shaolin’ (Or anything thing with Gordon Liu in it tbf) and I couldn’t get enough. The style, the fights, the minimal yet effective stories.
Then I watched ‘Kung Fu’ the tv show with David Carradine playing Caine the stoic shaolin monk and it was sealed. That’s not to say that I don’t see why it was cancelled, the last two seasons are awful but I don’t blame the show for that. It was made in the wrong time I think, each episode was designed to be easily consumable on its own, like a mini movie for the purpose of reruns, so you could just watch a random episode and enjoy it without having to know the context leading up to that point (Whereas today you have the internet and netflix so you can have a flowing story and watch the episodes in order to keep up with a consistent plot). And because of that it lost its grasp on a main plot and then when it tried to rekindle that, it fumbled it horrible.

But the first season I found spellbinding and I realise if I keep going on about it, this blog is going to be three times as long as it has to be. So I’ll wrap it up by just saying, I found every episode of the first season emblematic of everything I want to do with 3 Ring; Punchy and fun and enigmatic, with a strong mysterious story that clings to a tight back story slowly unfolding episode to episode filling out the character of the hero and propelling the story forward in a way that keeps the reader/watcher coming back for more.

that keeps readers wanting more and more.

See you…

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